Who are you writing for?
We all struggle with these questions. "Am I good enough? Will people like my songs? Do I deserve to even write or call myself a songwriter?" Today, I'm raising you one more: Who are you writing for? Your answer can change everything.
Watch the video below, and download today's Lesson Materials below the video player.
WORKSHEET: Who am I writing for?
Phew! Let's take some pressure off yourself! Fill out this worksheet to get to the root of your why. Print out a handful of copies. Every month or two, fill it out again and see how your answers change.
A bonus affirmation for you: "My music making process is mine alone. I am allowed to enjoy my process. The process is for me."
We are going to talk about some grounding today, some grounding related topics. We're going to talk about why we write and who we write for.
I'm going to have a few questions for you to think about and to answer for yourself at the end of this video.
We also have a great worksheet for you here on the HUB page that goes into a little more depth. Check it out above!
So I have a bit of hot take I'm going to share with you. I'm, honestly, I'm not the first person to ever come up with this concept, but I don't hear it enough.
The music industry has brainwashed us all.
The music industry has had a rough influence on artists, even if you're not involved directly in the music industry.
We’ve all been affected by this influence at some point or another.
Making music got influenced, shaded over, and crowded out by music industry expectations.
What do I mean by that? As artists a lot of time, we get the narrative that our music is meant to
- Only be enjoyed by other people
- That art has to be made solely for the benefit of other people.
- f our music is not popular, it is not good.
- If it is too popular, it is not good.
- That the only option in life for music makers is starvation or over the moon's success.
- That our songs require approval by people who know better
So the fact is: you can write music for whoever you want!
Your songwriting process is for you to enjoy.
No one can take that from you.
If you have music industry related goals, if you have commercial goals, make in money goals, then there's going to be a set of things to learn about how an industry operates.
But if you're writing music because you want to write music and you don't necessarily want to be the next big thing and you don't necessarily want to have songs on Billboard, it's all fine, too.
Nobody’s expectations of you or your music have any room in your songwriting process, unless you’re want them to be involved.
The narrative around the artist and the musician is that you have to be wildly successful and well known and to have music that is enjoyed by all the people, all the people on the planet in order to be a valid musician in order to be a valid artist—it’s just not true.
- Want to hear yourself in the radio one day? Go for it.
- Are you writing songs because you're on fire about a particular topic or maybe you have to process something you went through? Write it out.
And those two things are not mutually exclusive.
From this point out, I encourage you to know why you're writing, and who are you writing for.
That may change from song to song and that is totally fine.
Music making does not have to be a matter of commercial success or starvation.
Music making does not have to be a matter of “Will they like me? Will they not like me?”
Music making can simply be a matter of, “Do I like this? Do I like this song? Do I enjoy the process of songwriting?”
Your process doesn't have to fit any sort of standard.
I wish more artists knew this, but you're allowed to make music for you, the way you enjoy making it.
So, I'm going to leave you with some questions now. It's worthwhile to write these questions down in a notebook, and maybe come back to them in a month, in six months, answer the same questions again, and see if your answers have changed.
- Do I want massive commercial success?
- What does success look like for me?
Is it massive and commercial, or is it finally getting music on Spotify? Is it winning a Grammy? Is it earning the respect of my peers? Is it finally getting on stage? Is it earning a living from my music?
- Am I happy with my music making process?
Does making music make you happy? When you sit down to write music, How do you feel?
I think these questions will help you uncover who you're writing for these days.
Wether that’s for yourself, for someone else’s approval, or because you think that’s the way it is.